Wesley Mortimer Wales Anderson is the foremost documentarian of the ennui of directionless white people. His audience consists of people who only wear clothes ironically.
Just The Facts
- Wes Anderson has been nominated for two Academy Awards, one for best screenplay and one for best animated film, but has never won. Some say this is because "Vintage-ness" is severly undervalued in Oscar voting.
- Frequent collaborators include Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, and the Wilson brothers, presumably because of their personal connection to the director, and their ability to look blank.
- He has a borderline obsession with the typeface Futura, using it for most of his title sequences, and posters, and even signs and props within his movies. He chose it initially because of its use in the credits sequences of old Italian movies, and how bitchin' it looks on an ascot.
Wes Anderson is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin's film program, where he was roommates with actor Owen Wilson. Naturally this had no effect or bias when it came to casting his future movies. In 1994. Anderson and Wilson co-wrote a short film called "Bottle Rocket" which starred Owen (Starsky & Hutch remake) Wilson and Luke (AT&T commercial guy) Wilson in their first roles. It made its way to the Sundance Film Festival, where it eventually caught the eye of producers Polly Platt and James L. Brooks, who put up money to turn it in to a feature film.
Bottle Rocket, the full length movie, was released in 1996 and while critics were mostly positive, it was a financial bomb, making a little more then half a million dollars at the box office with a seven million dollar budget. The lack of success likely made Anderson feel like staring off in to the distance, with a morose sense of fatalism and lack of direction permeating his very being. This would serve him well in the future.
Rushmore was Anderson's second film, and led to break out success. Also co-written with Owen Wilson, the film chronicles the war of affection for a teacher, between prep school student Jason Schwartzman and his eldery man friend Bill Murray. Much of it was filmed at Anderson's old prep school, St. John's in Houston, Texas. The movie was very successful and firmly established the Mopey Characters Moping Around film market.
The Face of Success
Following Rushmore was a long series of sequels from Anderson in which, much like the Die Hard series, we see the same characters in increasingly implausible settings.
In chronological order:
- The Royal Tennenbaums (2001): Morose family made up of sad, quirky, white people dealing with their feelings in New York, while inspiring the douchiest halloween costumes of 2002 and beyond.
- The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004): Sad, quirky, white people on a submarine under the sea, hunting something that is definitely not a white whale.
- The Darjeeling Limited (2007): Three sad, quirky, white brothers take a train trip through India while ignoring most of the country.
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009): A movie about...animals! Dear God yes! Animals that...act like quirky, white people. Well at least they're not mopey.
They look like actual misguided white people, just like the movie!
Anderson is no chameleon, his movies have a distinctive style that never lets you forget you are watching a Wes Anderson movie, made by Wes Anderson, the director of the Wes Anderson movie you are watching.
Some of his trademarks include:
- An almost exclusive use of the Futura font, most often in yellow, but occasionally in black or other primary colors. Sometimes he varies the weight, or italicizes if he's feeling wacky.
- An elaborate slow motion shot of a character running, or walking rapidly, often at the end of the film. This is so people don't miss the character's facial expression not changing.
- A montage set to a Rolling Stones song. Not anything popular like "Paint it Black" or "Satisfaction" of course, but you know the Stones album with the song you never listen to? Yeah, it's that song.
- Grown up characters seeking the approval of a parental figure. A theme which Wes Anderson's dad does not approve of and never will.
- A shot of one the characters under water. It is powerful symbolism, often signifying that the character is very, very wet.